Latest UConn title embodies the Geno way
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- With every other moniker you could give UConn coach Geno Auriemma -- "The Dominator" or "The Closer" or "The Master" -- you might also refer to him as Cinderella's worst friend. Because once the Huskies get into the national championship game, all the fairy tales are over.
Auriemma's Huskies beat Notre Dame 79-58 on Tuesday night to earn the program's record ninth NCAA title. That passes Tennessee's Pat Summitt, who won her eighth and final title in 2008. UConn finished this season 40-0, and the big-time kid, sophomore Breanna Stewart, is now 2-for-2 in being named the Women's Final Four's most outstanding player.
Auriemma's record in the final is 9-0. No matter the opponent, no matter what adversity his team might have faced during the season, Auriemma always has his Huskies ready for the last game. More
On big stage, Stewart again delivers
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It was billed as the biggest game in the history of women's college basketball, an unprecedented pairing of undefeated teams with a championship on the line. The years to come might prove the billing accurate, or they might prove the hype and hubbub one more example of our tendency in the modern world to confuse most recent with most important.
What does seem fair to suggest is that it would be difficult to call anything the biggest game in the history of the sport if one of the all-time greats wasn't on the court to participate.
Legends make games legendary. Or maybe it's the other way around.
In the spirit of letting time run its course before writing history, perhaps Breanna Stewart isn't there yet. But after she totaled 21 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks in Connecticut's 79-58 win against Notre Dame on Tuesday, it grows increasingly difficult to believe she won't be among her sport's all-time greats by the time she's done playing for the sport's most successful program.
Two seasons. Two NCAA championships. Two times the most outstanding player in the Final Four. More
Perfect season is perfect ending for seniors
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley didn't just dream of this ending. They expected it.
The Huskies' heart-and-soul seniors didn't imagine another scenario to cap their stellar college careers other than the one that played out Tuesday night in Nashville.
Dominant play, a struggling opponent, confetti falling, a celebration. More
Pros and UConns of another Huskies title
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Millions of people tuned in to watch the two best teams in women's college basketball, both unbeaten through 76 combined games, play for all the marbles.
An epic showdown, the greatest women's basketball game ever played, one for the ages.
It was supposed to be all of that. But it ended up being one thing: a clinic, put on by the Huskies, the outcome obvious well before the buzzer. Notre Dame was the second-best team this season -- by a long shot. Tuesday, UConn was playing in a different league.
And therein lies a conundrum facing women's college basketball. One of the sport's biggest assets, UConn, also routinely clobbers opponents and produces games that are duds. This spectacular dominance will likely continue, as reigning AP Player of the Year Breanna Stewart is only a sophomore and has her sights set on winning two more national titles before her eligibility runs out. More
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By The Numbers
Two unbeaten teams met in the title game for the first time. Take a look at some of the facts and figures we found along the way.
•: ESPN Stats & Info: Numbers behind win
• ESPN The Magazine: By the numbers
• FiveThirtyEight: History in making
• Most-anticipated women's sporting events
• Previous battles of unbeaten teams
• espnW.com: 12 perfect pairs
• Slideshow: Past perfect women's seasons
2011-12 Baylor: 40-0
2009-10 Connecticut: 39-0
Maya Moore and the Huskies clinched back-to-back perfect seasons with an imperfect game -- they trailed 20-12 at the break. Still, it was the Huskies' 78th straight win, paving the way for an NCAA Division I-record (men or women) 90-game win streak.
• Imperfect game caps perfect season
2008-09 Connecticut: 39-0
2001-02 Connecticut: 39-0
1997-98 Tennessee: 39-0
"A lot of people argue who had the best team to date," Pat Summitt has said. "It's all who you talk to. I'll just say that team was the best pressing, running team that played. Looking back, that was the best team I've coached."
• Holdsclaw leads Lady Vols
1994-95 Connecticut: 35-0
In a year that sparked the UConn-Tennessee rivalry, consensus player of the year Rebecca Lobo and UConn topped the Lady Vols for the second time that season for their first undefeated run.
• Balance, chemistry lead way
1985-86 Texas: 34-0
Jody Conradt's team became the first in the NCAA era to go unbeaten. Said Kamie Ethridge: "We screwed it up the year before, and it made us mad. We were a very senior-dominated team."
• Seniors, anger fuel run